FACT CHECK: Image Claims Joe Biden ‘Wants To Resume Building Trump’s Wall’
An image shared on Facebook over 220 times claims President Joe Biden has said he wants to “resume building Trump’s wall.”
While the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineering have done repairs on levees and other construction that some activists see as building new additions to the southern border wall, Biden has not expressed support for finishing the wall. The DHS has also canceled border contracts and returned land that had been previously seized for border wall construction.
Biden signed an executive order Jan. 20 pausing construction on former President Donald Trump’s southern border wall, according to The Washington Post. Now, almost a year later, some social media users are claiming Biden has changed his mind and wants to resume building the border wall. An article accompanying the Facebook post quotes DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
“The president has communicated quite clearly his decision that the emergency that triggered the devotion of DOD funds to the construction of the border wall is ended,” Mayorkas is quoted as saying. “But that leaves room to make decisions as the administration – as part of the administration – in particular areas of the wall that need renovation, particular projects that need to be finished.”
The quote appears to be genuine, as the Washington Times included it in an April 2021 article. There is no evidence, however, that Biden has said he wants to resume building the border wall. Check Your Fact reviewed the White House website and did not find any press release or statement from Biden calling for the continuation of constructing the border wall.
White House Press Secretary Psaki reiterated in an Oct. 22 press briefing that Biden did not agree with the southern border wall when comparing Trump’s immigration policy to the president’s. (RELATED: Did Joe Biden Say The N-Word During A Recent Speech?)
“That immigration policy resulted in separating kids from their parents, building a border wall that’s feckless and that cost billions of dollars for taxpayers,” Psaki said. “The President fundamentally disagrees on how we need to approach the immigration issue.”
Activists have charged that the Biden administration has broken its promise not to continue construction on the border wall due to construction of what the U.S. Customs and Border Protection called a concrete levee at the border wall, according to NPR. Texas Public Radio reported in October that some construction may move forward on the border wall, though that is due to Congress appropriating funds for the wall, not because of Biden wanting to do so.
The DHS press office directed Check Your Fact to a June press release, where the department said they would use funds appropriated from Congress for border wall construction to “prioritize the remaining border barrier funds to address and remediate urgent life, safety, and environmental issues resulting from the previous administration’s border wall construction.” A June DHS border wall plan further stated that the department “suspended performance of all border barrier contracts and southwest border barrier construction activities.”
In addition, the DHS canceled several border wall contracts in October, according to CNN. An October press release from the DHS stated that while it would be doing environmental planning for other border projects, it “will not involve any construction of new border barrier or permanent land acquisition.”
The Biden administration also returned land previously seized for border wall construction, CNN reported. The attorneys general of Texas and Missouri are suing the Biden administration to force the finish of the construction of the southern border wall, according to the Texas Tribune.
The claim that Biden resumed construction on the southern border wall also went viral in May, which 13 News Now reported at the time was inaccurate. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineering said in a May 13 tweet that it was doing repairs on levees. (RELATED: Did Joe Biden Sign 52 Executive Orders In One Week?)
To be clear, wall construction remains paused to extent permitted by law. Per DHS, we’ve started critical work to repair the Rio Grande Valley’s flood levee, which was excavated to make way for border wall. This remediation work will not involve expanding border barrier.
— USACE HQ (@USACEHQ) May 13, 2021
“To be clear, wall construction remains paused to extent permitted by law,” the unit tweeted in May. “Per DHS, we’ve started critical work to repair the Rio Grande Valley’s flood levee, which was excavated to make way for border wall. This remediation work will not involve expanding border barrier.”